Numismatica Ars Classica > Auction 135Auction date: 21 November 2022
Lot number: 276

Price realized: 80,000 CHF   (Approx. 84,087 USD / 81,160 EUR)   Note: Prices do not include buyer's fees.
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Lot description:


The Roman Empire. Galba, 68-69.
Aureus July 68-January 69, AV 7.29 g. IMP SER GALBA – CAESAR AVG Laureate and draped bust r. Rev. DIVA – AVGVSTA Livia, draped, standing l., holding patera in extended r. hand and vertical sceptre in l. C 54. Kent-Hirmer pl. 59, 207. BMC 3. RIC 188. CBN 82. Calicó 472 (this coin illustrated).
Very rare. A bold portrait and a magnificent reddish tone, minor nick on obverse
field behind head and a few minor marks in field and on edge,
otherwise about extremely fine

Ex Hess-Leu 7 April 1960, 302; Leu 18, 1977, 301 and NAC 54, 2010, 354 sales. From the Boscoreale hoard of 1895.This coin is illustrated in The Roman Aurei by X. E. Calicó.
Almost more remarkable than Galba's legacy as an emperor for seven months in 68 and 69 is the life he enjoyed before he claimed the purple. He was among the wealthiest men in the empire, and is said not to have travelled anywhere, not even on a casual afternoon ride, with less than ten thousand gold pieces. Being so wealthy and belonging to a noble family, the Suplicii, it is not surprising that he held many important posts in Rome and in the provinces, and was a personal acquaintance of the Julio-Claudians. Galba began his association with the Julio-Claudians with a pinch on the cheek from Augustus when he was a child, and thereafter he was a personal acquaintance of the emperors from Tiberius onward to Nero, whom he overthrew in 68. Agrippina Junior apparently was infatuated with him, and he enjoyed especially close friendships with Claudius and Livia. Suetonius tells us Livia made Galba her principal heir, leaving him 500,000 aurei, but that Tiberius nullified her bequest on a technicality, reducing the amount to only 5,000. The reverse of this aureus depicts the standing figure of Livia, who had been deified since the accession of her grandson Claudius in 41. The point is clear: Galba advertises his famous attachment to the early Julio-Claudians, and specifically to the first empress Livia. In doing so he offers proof of his fitness to wear the purple as the first non-Julio-Claudian to claim that honour. It was an appropriate message in this age of chaos and civil war, when faith in the more recent Julio-Claudians had been justifiably shaken, and Galba proposed a return to the severitas of a bygone era.
Graded XF Strike 5/5 Surface 2/5 Boscoreale, NGC certification number 6556714-004

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Estimate: 75000 CHF